The Peddler vs Greenbrier: Which is Better? A Local Declares A Winner

Greenbrier vs Peddler (a shot of the exterior of the restaurants)

An area restaurant reviewer compares two of Gatlinburg's finest restaurants: The Peddler and The Greenbrier Restaurant (photos by Morgan Overholt and Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

Area restaurant reviewer compares two of Gatlinburg’s most popular fine dining restaurants: The Peddler and The Greenbrier Restaurant

Look let’s start by peeling the curtain back a little bit. Friends, on this particular subject my expertise is substantial. I’ve been tasting quality meat up and down East Tennessee for nearly four decades now. Wait, forget it. You know what I mean. We’re not circling back. 

From Crossville to Knoxville to Maryville to Greenville – all the villes, really – I’ve sought out the best steaks. I’ve even been all over the non-villes, Chattanooga, Johnson City, Morristown, Newport, and, of course, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. If there’s someone there claiming quality steaks in East Tennessee, I’ve been there. Like a sentinel on the wall, I am doing my civic duty for you – the reader. And now, set before us, is the sacred task. Evaluating which of the two iconic Sevier County steakhouses is the better. It’s The Peddler vs. The Greenbrier. Let’s get ready to rumble. Below, we will pair the two titans of ribeye against one another in a variety of categories. At the end, we’ll tally up the scores and see who comes out on top.

The Peddler and The Greenbrier are two quality Gatlinburg steakhouses that have served – not in the Twilight Zone-y way – locals and tourists for decades. Both have a fine menu with a selection of great meal options. Both are well-suited for celebrations, big occasions or a date night. But only one can be the best. In this article we get it sorted. It’s The Greenbrier.

The Greenbrier
The Greenbrier Restaurant is a historic landmark and upscale dining establishment in Gatlinburg (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Online Reviews

Winner: The Greenbrier

While I wouldn’t trust a single stranger on the internet’s opinion – unless they’re an expert like me – there is something to be gleaned from the opinions of hundreds or thousands of reviewers.  The majority opinion isn’t always the correct one, there is something to the idea that 50 million Elvis fans can’t be wrong. 

So, let’s go to the internet and see which restaurant the hoi polloi thinks is better. 

Alphabetically, of course, The Greenbrier is first. Let’s see … with 1,488 Google Reviews, The Greenbrier earns a rating of 4.5 Stars. That’s pretty good. Now, let’s look at The Peddler. With 5,461 reviews it has a rating of … sigh, 4.5 stars. So that was less illuminating than I’d hoped, but Google isn’t the only game in town.

Let’s see what Yelp! has to offer. The Greenbrier has 274 reviews and a rating of … 4.5 stars. Hmmm. It seems the internet may be useless. Thanks, for nothing Al Gore. But let’s check The Peddler, anyway. Maybe it’ll be 4.45 stars or something. Oh, my goodness. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE HAVE SEPARATION! With 847 reviews The Peddler comes in with a – frankly ridiculously low – rating of 3.9 Stars. 

It’s a point for The Greenbrier. Also, for perspective, the Green Hemp Café has a rating of 4.8 Stars on Yelp! so let’s take these results with a grain of salt. 

bartender lights dish on fire at bar at greenbrier ing atlinburg tn
The service at Greenbrier is exceptional (photo by Morgan overholt/TheSmokies.com)

The Service

Winner: Greenbrier

I can only speak anecdotally about my experience. We must allow for the idea that a random few days spread over time isn’t necessarily a fair representation of today. However, more than once I have been disappointed in The Peddler’s service. Now, I’m not a fancy guy. Dressed up for me is a button-up shirt and khakis. Maybe a polo. I don’t look like I have money or taste … or sometimes sense. But there have been a couple of times in The Peddler that I got the feeling that the waiter was disappointed to be waiting on me. Maybe assuming I wouldn’t be tipping up to standard or something.

I’ve eaten in a lot of nice places and I always appreciate a professional waitstaff. There are only a couple of places I’ve had that feeling But I’ve had it in The Peddler more than once. Not that the service is bad. Just disappointed … in myself. I’ve never felt like that at The Greenbrier

Point Greenbrier.

duck from the greenbrier restaurant in gatlinburg tn
Duck is one of the many menu options at Greenbrier (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

The Menu

Winner: The Greenbrier

You can’t go wrong at either place. At The Peddler, I love the fried mushrooms and cauliflower to start. I am also a sucker for good French onion soup. The variety of steaks is expertly prepared and there are chicken and seafood options. The menu isn’t deep, but it doesn’t need to be. They do what they do and they do it excellently. 

At The Greenbrier, the menu is a little fancier. Appetizers include Foie Gras and Scallops and Smoked Bone Marrow & Tartare. There’s a Nashville Hot Oyster dish that I refuse to order because I ain’t Nashville, baby. Like the iconic East Tennessee bar band of my youth – Smokin’ Dave and the Primo Dopes – I’m just from Knoxville. Like The Peddler, there are chicken and fish options as well as lamb, duck and vegetarian gnocchi. Also like The Peddler, The Greenbrier has a variety of excellently prepared chops and steaks. There is a variety of seafood to make your own Surf and Turf meal.

Honestly, I went into this thinking I’d rate the two a tie in this category but reviewing The Greenbrier menu again, it’s just a little deeper. Just a little … well, better. I think you’re getting a great meal in either place but sitting here asking myself which menu I’d rather choose from right now. It’s the ‘Brier, baby.

Point Greenbrier.

a table in the back of the restaurant overlooking a stream with large windows
The tables in the back of The Peddler restaurant overlook a stream (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

The Location

Winner: The Peddler

You couldn’t be more disparate and still be in Gatlinburg. The Peddler sits at the top of the strip, conveniently located near all that Downtown Gatlinburg has to offer. It’s a great stop if you’re heading across the mountains into North Carolina after your meal or if you’re returning to Gatlinburg from Cherokee or Bryson City. Greenbrier is on the other end of Gatlinburg – near The Greenbrier community. It’s a little more remote and not far from the National Park on the other side of town. If you’re staying downtown, The Peddler is within walking distance and Greenbrier isn’t. 

Point Peddler.

The Peddler steakhouse
The Peddler is probably the more reasonably priced of the two options (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

The Price

Winner: The Peddler

This is a trickier category than you might think. When you’ve committed to having a steakhouse meal are you looking for value? It’s kind of an in-for-a-penny, in-for-a-pound situation.

The Peddler is a $30-$50 steakhouse and The Greenbrier is a $50-$100 joint. And even though that’s quite the jump looking over the menu at The Greenbrier – as long as you don’t do too many apps or alcoholic drinks – it’s doable at the price. 

Regardless, point Peddler.

the salad bar at the peddler
Every entree comes with a free salad bar at The Peddler (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

The Salad Bar

Winner: The Peddler

There’s an underrated quality to a restaurant having a good salad bar. People overlook what a salad bar brings to a meal. It’s a crucial ingredient in my opinion. The Peddler’s salad bar is famous and it’s included with the price of an entrée – which maybe accounts for some of the price difference – people filling up on salad don’t need as many apps. 

Maybe not a fair category as Greenbrier doesn’t have a salad bar. 

Point Peddler.

cut steak on a fork
The steak at The Greenbrier was cooked to perfection (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

The Steaks

Winner: The Greenbrier

Is it fair to have a category for food and steaks? Maybe. Maybe not. Don’t forget these are my rules, I make ‘em up. Still, I think the quality of the steaks at a steakhouse is probably worthy of their own category. The steaks at The Peddler are good, great really. But while I can’t quantify it, the ones at The Greenbrier are better. They just are. Ultimately, that’s the decider. 

And that’s it. As the great Nick Bakay used to say, it’s so easy when you break it down scientifically. In a battle of Gatlinburg steakhouses, The Greenbrier comes out on top. But if we’re being honest, there’s no losers here. These are two great dining establishments worthy of your money and time on a night out. 

Are you planning a trip to the Smoky Mountains? Be sure to check out our coupons page for area promos.

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